Here’s something that should surprise no one: for the sake of political expediency, Barack Obama lied (that really is the word for it) about his opposition to same-sex marriage. The President’s famous “evolution” on the marriage question was really just a coming-out party (so to speak) for beliefs he had held for at least a decade.
That’s the story being told by long-time Obama aid, David Axelrod, in his new book. Here’s CNN, quoting Axelrod:
“Gay marriage was a particularly nagging issue. For as long as we had been working together, Obama had felt a tug between his personal views [in support of gay marriage] and the politics of gay marriage,” Axelrod writes. “Opposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church, and as he ran for higher office, he grudgingly accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me, and modified his position to support civil unions rather than marriage, which he would term a ‘sacred union.'”
Politicians have had trouble telling the truth for…well, for a long time. This president hardly invented the lie. But what’s so remarkable about this story is that Axelrod isn’t dishing dirt on his former boss. This is a case of a loyal aid burnishing the old boss’s legacy by reassuring Progressives he was on the Right Side of History all along. The fact that Obama lied is actually meant to be reassuring.
The CNN story shows this to be so:
Axelrod’s book only confirms previous reports that Obama had, in fact, supported gay marriage for a long time.
While running for his first term in the Illinois State Senate, Obama signed a questionnaire in which he answered that he “favored legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight to prohibit such marriages.” The questionnaire came to light in 2009, days before Obama’s inauguration.
“I had no doubt that this was his heartfelt belief,” Axelrod said of the questionnaire. “He also knew his view was way out in front of the public’s.”
Axelrod makes it clear Obama wanted to support gay marriage publicly, and lied about it only reluctantly. But the President knew his enlightened views on marriage were, “way out in front of the public’s,” so, for the sake of the country, he hid his Progressive lamp under a bushel basket.
In the eyes of Progressives, the revelation of this lie removes a stain from Obama’s legacy. He has been exonerated from the charge of an unforgivable sin–of thinking that marriage is between one man and one woman. Progressives can heave a collective sigh of relief now, knowing their champion was never actually an irrational bigot; just a garden-variety teller of Noble Lies.